With a heavy heart, Euroleague Basketball joins the world basketball family in mourning Dusan "Duda" Ivkovic, the two-time EuroLeague champion and dean of the coaching profession, who died in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, on Thursday, six weeks before his 78th birthday.
After following his late older brother Slobodan into coaching at age 25 in 1968, Mr. Ivkovic served at the head of benches around Europe in different five decades from 1978 to 2017. He coached at 12 pro clubs in his native Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Russia and Turkey, as well as leading the Yugoslav and Serbian national teams in three different decades. His impact on the sport and his status among his fellow coaches was such that he served as president of the World Association of Basketball Coaches in the mid-2000s.
"We at Euroleague Basketball are beyond sad to know that a close friend and a true giant of our sport, Duda Ivkovic, has left us too soon," Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball CEO, said. "It is no exaggeration to say that Duda impacted European basketball as much as any coach ever, growing up in one of the cradles of the sport, Belgrade, and taking many teams to the heights of success. Even more than his accomplishments, however, Duda will be remembered as a true leader to his thousands of players and to generations of coaches. Basketball has lost one of its pioneers, but Coach Ivkovic's legacy lives on in a thriving European game that he helped lift to where it is today."